Irked over the adamant attitude of Urban affairs minister Sniawbhalang Dhar, the Seng Samla Mawlai Pyllun (SSMP) on Wednesday went and locked the waste dumping ground at Mawlai along the Shillong-Guwahati highway.
The Seng Samla Mawlai Pyllun took the step as the minister did not pay heed to address the issues related to the treatment of solid waste and biomedical waste at the dumping ground.
The locking of the gate led to many vehicles ferrying waste stranded on the highway.
Dhar, who is also in charge of municipal affairs, earlier promised to visit the marten and find out ways and means to solve the problem.
The SSMP gave the urban affairs and municipal affairs department 14 days’ time to take corrective measures as the treatment of both solid waste and biomedical waste at the dumping ground has been hazardous.
“Since the minister is adamant and not keen to address the problems being faced by the residents of Mawlai, the SSMP has no option but to lock the gate of the marten,” SSMP president Samuel Biam told reporters.
He said the minister may not have much interest in solving this problem perhaps because it is not giving any benefit like the shopping mall he proposed to build at Khyndai Lad even if the government has to avail loan.
“For a shopping mall, you have the will to do it, even if you have to avail loan. But when it comes to solving the garbage issue for the interest of the people, you don’t have the will, may be, because it will not benefit you,” Biam hit out at the government.
He said if the government can avail loan for building a shopping mall, what is the problem for the government to also avail loan to buy land for the creating more dumping grounds as well as ensure proper functioning of machines and technology related to treatment of waste.
Biam also reminded the minister (Dhar) that the government is a government of the people, and no minister should think or dream that the government is a company that does whatever it wants.
SSMP general secretary Samran Syiem pointed out that the marten did not have proper machines for treatment of biomedical waste and solid waste but the government did not bother to address the problem.
He said one minister after another has been assuring to address the problem but there was no action and nothing has been materialised till date, except that the people of Mawlai are getting more and more foul smell emanating from the dumping ground.
Syiem said the SSMP would not allow vehicles to dump the garbage at the marten till the government is ready to find a concrete solution.
He said the government has been promising to find new landfill sites but failed to fulfil the same.
Syiem also said the setting up of the biomedical waste at the dumping ground was not as per the criteria or norms of the biomedical waste management rules, 2016, and not a single criteria was fulfilled.
“If the North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health Medical Sciences (NEIGRHIMS) can have proper bio-medical waste treatment plant, why not the government of Meghalaya,” Syiem asked.
Stating that the SSMP and people of Mawlai will no longer keep quiet till the probelm is addressed, Syiem said, “If the minister and the government feel that this problem should not be addressed, we will also lock this dumping ground permanently.”